Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycle Infrastructure

DOT Has Set a Date to Fix the Infamous ‘Second Avenue Gap’

3:27 PM EDT on April 18, 2019

Welcome to hell: The gap in the Second Avenue bike lane forces cyclists into a scrum of car traffic. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The Department of Transportation said on Thursday that it will finally fix one of the most terrifying routes for cyclists in Manhattan, the dreaded "Second Avenue Gap."

Work will begin "in the next couple of weeks" to better protect riders along the popular Second Avenue protected bike lane between 68th Street and the Queensboro Bridge," said Sean Quinn, the agency's senior director of the bicycle pedestrian project.

“We’re really excited, you know," Quinn added.

He would certainly not be the only one feeling a little exuberant. Second Avenue's "degeneration gap" creates a scary situation for cyclists, who are forced into traffic the worst possible place: the spot where drivers get increasingly frustrated — and reckless — as they get stuck in traffic of their own making new the 59th Street Bridge entrance.

It's a dangerous area. "KSI" means "killed or seriously injured." Source: DOT
It's a dangerous area. "KSI" means "killed or seriously injured." Source: DOT

The nine-block safety improvement [PDF] was supposed to be completed last year, but was delayed. That delay resulted in substantial carnage: Between Oct. 1, 2018 and April 1, 2019, there were 231 reported crashes along just that short stretch, resulting in injuries to three cyclists, nine pedestrians and 14 motorists, according to city stats.

Activists say the DOT plan is by no means perfect because cyclists will not be "protected" by parked cars during rush hour.

Instead, the DOT will allow cars and trucks to use the southbound lane directly next to the bike lane rather than make it a parking lane (see DOT diagram below):

2nd Ave gap plan

But many cyclists cheered the fact that the improvements will come in weeks, not months.

Another regular user of the lane said she would remain optimistic for now.

Quinn also added that DOT will eventually work on the similar gap "by the Queens-Midtown Tunnel," but did not offer a date for when that treacherous gap will be fixed. DOT spokesman Brian Zumhagen added more details:

The Department of Design and Construction is implementing important infrastructure upgrades south of 42nd Street that preclude additional street work at this time. DOT continues to work with DDC and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority [which operates the tunnel itself] on a timeline and will bring a proposal to the community to extend the bike lane south as that project nears completion.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Analysis: ‘Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program’ is a Failure By All Measures

The Department of Transportation wants the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program to simply expire in part because it did not dramatically improve safety among these worst-of-the-worst drivers and led to a tiny number of vehicle seizures.

September 22, 2023

School Bus Driver Kills Cyclist in Boro Park, 24th Bike Death of 2023

Luis Perez-Ramirez, 44, was biking south on Fort Hamilton Parkway just before 3:15 p.m. when he was struck a by school bus driver making a right turn.

September 22, 2023

‘Betrayal’: Adams Caves to Opposition, Abandons Bus Improvement Plan on Fordham Road

The capitulation on Fordham Road is the latest episode in which the mayor has delayed or watered down a transportation project in deference to powerful interests.

September 22, 2023

Friday’s Headlines: Yes He Said Yes He Will Yes Edition

That headline above is a reference to the last line of James Joyce's Ulysses, which we won't pretend to have read. But we have that ... and other news.

September 22, 2023

Madness: Port Authority Will Spend $8.3M to ‘Study’ Widening Outerbridge Crossing

Will this $8.3 million find out anything we don't know about induced demand?

September 22, 2023
See all posts